The Cross and the Empty Tomb

Luke 23:33-49 Luke 24:1-12

A woman looked out the window of her home and was
horrified to see her German Shepherd shaking the life
out of the neighbor’s pet rabbit. Her family had been
quarreling with these neighbors; this was certainly
going to make matters worse.

She grabbed a broom and ran outside, pummeling the
pooch until he dropped the rabbit now covered with
dog-spit and extremely dead.
What was she going to do?
The woman lifted the rabbit with the end of the broom
and brought it into the house. She dumped its lifeless
body into the bathtub and turned on the shower. When
the water running off the rabbit was clean, she rolled
him over and rinsed the other side.
Now she had a plan. She found her hair-dryer and blew
the rabbit dry. Using an old comb, she groomed the
rabbit until he looked pretty good. Then, when the
neighbor wasn’t looking, she hopped over the fence,
sneaked across the back yard, and propped him up in
his cage. No way was she taking the blame for this
thing!

About an hour later, she heard screams coming from
the neighbor’s yard. She ran outside, pretending she
didn’t know what was going on.
Her neighbor came running to the fence.
“Our rabbit, our rabbit!” she blubbered. “He died two
weeks ago, we buried him, and now he’s back!”

This Easter Sunday we are going to take a look at the
Cross and the Empty Tomb. We are going to read Luke’s
account of both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Luke 23:33-49

The Scripture doesn’t go into great detail about the
crucifixion, but we know that the Roman’s perfected it.
They were experts at capital punishment.

But Jesus’ death was NOT deserved.
He was without sin.
So, why was He on the cross?

This morning we are going to talk about
3 reasons Christ Went to the Cross.

Because of Our Sin – turn with me to Romans 5:6-11
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ
died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a
righteous man; though perhaps for the good man
someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates
His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now
been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the
wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies
we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son,
much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by
His life.”

Notice how Paul describes us…ungodly, sinners, enemies.
But God demonstrates His love by having His Son die on
the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.

Let’s talk about sin for a moment.
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we have all
sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The Psalmist writes that there is no one who does good,
not even one.

What exactly is sin?

Anything we think, say, or do that goes against God’s
word. It separates us from God.
We are all guilty of sin.

And the Bible also tells us that sin must be punished.
The wages of sin is death.
That is what we deserve for our sin.
It also tells us that God is just and He will not allow sin to
go unpunished.

But, here is the good news. Jesus went to cross in our
place. He died to take the punishment for OUR sin.
He was sinless, but He took on the sin of the world and
suffered on the cross in our place!!

There’s another reason Jesus went to the cross:
To Reconcile us to God –

2 Corinthians 5:15-21
“And He died for all. So that they who live might no
longer live for themselves, but for Him who died
and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now
on we recognize no one according to the flesh;
even though we have known Christ according to
the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no
longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creature; the old things passed away; behold, new
things have come. Now all these things are from
God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely,
that God was in Christ reconciling the world to
Himself, not counting their trespasses against
them, and He has committed to us the word of
reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for
Christ, as though God were making an appeal
through us, we beg you on behalf of Christ, be
reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin
to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him.”

Notice that God reconciled us to Himself through Christ
He sent His Son to die on the cross so that we can be
reconciled to Him.
What does it mean to be reconciled?
Think of it this way.
When God created Adam and Eve in the garden. They
were in perfect fellowship with God.

But sin entered and they were cast out of the garden.
Our sin separates us from God.
Jesus brings us back into fellowship with God.
His blood that was shed covers our sin and restores us to
right standing with God once again.

The final reason Christ went to the cross:
For Our Forgiveness – sin is real and has real
consequences.

God wants a relationship with us.
When we sin, it grieves Him. It breaks His heart that we
would choose sin over obedience to Him and all of His
wonderful mercies.

He is ready and willing to forgive us of our sin, but He
never forces forgiveness on us.
Some people believe that God just forgives everyone no
matter if they ask for it or not.
He doesn’t forgive people that don’t ask Him to.

Hear this from
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful
and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness.”

God has already done all the heavy lifting.
He sent His only Son to the cross, to die a cruel and
gruesome death so that we could be forgiven of our sins.
But we must make the choice to receive His forgiveness.

If we don’t accept it we are still dead in our sin and
destined for hell.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the
Empty Tomb
Luke 24:1-12

The resurrection is the one thing that separates
Christianity from every other religion.

Yes, Jesus suffered and died on the cross, but He is not
still dead, He is alive!!

I like the angel’s words in v.5, why do you seek the living
One among the dead?
He is not here.
He is risen from the dead.

Christ conquered the grave.
He defeated death.

And this is the reason we come to church, to worship the
one true LIVING God.

And now He is seated at the Right hand of God.
And one day “every knee will bow, of those who are in
heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every
tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory
of God the Father.”

Today we celebrate the Empty Tomb and a Risen Savior.

How would God have us respond to today’s message?

APPLICATION

Live in the Resurrection Power
The same power that raised Christ from the dead is living
in all believers! Allow God to use you!

Listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit
Love God and others just as Christ has done for you.
Forgive others just as Christ has forgiven you.

Invitation

Romans 10:9-10 “that if you confess with your
mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that
God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
for with the heart a person believes, resulting in
righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses,
resulting in salvation.”

If you’ve never decided to receive God’s free gift would
you do that today? He is waiting for you to ask Him to
forgive you. Right where you are would you just confess
Him as Lord of your life and ask Him to forgive you of
your sin? He has promised in His word that He will do it.